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OPLIN 4Cast #616: Surprising no one, Google+ to be discontinued in 2019

Posted in 4cast, Google, and social network websites

Last week, Google revealed that a security flaw in the social network had exposed the personal data of half a million users. Although there is no evidence that the bug was exploited, Google kept the vulnerability a secret for months after its discovery. Google disclosed all this in a blog post announcing that the social network service would be shutting down over the next 10 months.

I wanted to love Google+. I much preferred its tools for segmenting out what I shared with whom online — even if my policy is to treat everything I do online as essentially public and not remotely private from anyone. But it never caught on as the Facebook-killer I’d hoped it would be. Eventually, it just became a pain: the source of a random avatar that no one could remember how to update, or the reason we can no longer use a plus-sign to force Google to include words in a search.

  • Google+ vulnerability comes under fire in Senate hearing (The Verge) “Lawmakers point out that Google has already been put on notice by the FTC twice, once in 2011 following the launch of its first social network, Google Buzz. Google agreed to a settlement that included a consent decree, prohibiting the company from ‘misrepresenting the privacy of personal information.’ The senators claimed that Google’s inaction following the discovery of the Google+ vulnerability could put the company in violation of that consent decree and that the velocity at which the company has grown may be cause enough for another investigation.”
  • A former Google+ UI designer suggests inept management played a role in the network’s demise [TechCrunch] “No matter what you think of the tweets, it’s an interesting narrative and it’s instructive as one insider’s view onto what — other than Facebook’s stranglehold on users — may have ultimately doomed Google+.”
  • The Google+ Bug Is More About The Cover-Up Than The Crime [Electronic Frontier Foundation] “Overall, the disclosure does not give the impression of a contrite company that has learned its lesson. Users don’t need to know the ins and outs of Google’s UX process, they need to be convinced that this won’t happen again. Google wrote a pitch when it was supposed to write an apology.”
  • How to Delete Your Google+ Account [Nextgov] “Google will officially sunset the social network next August, so you have plenty of time to grab your data and shut the account down.”

From the Ohio Web Library: